Published: Wed, April 11, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Israel sniper filmed shooting Palestinian civilian as fellow soldiers cheer

Israel sniper filmed shooting Palestinian civilian as fellow soldiers cheer

As the world watches the thousands-strong demonstrations at Gaza's border with Israel, images and videos that have emerged since the protests began have sparked fresh debate about Israel's use of force against Palestinians.

The Israeli military has said it was forced to use live ammunition to prevent demonstrators from breaking through the fence.

Israel's defense minister says a Gaza journalist who was killed by Israeli gunfire over the weekend was a Hamas militant. Hamas has fought three cross-border wars with Israel, and its political charter calls for Israel's destruction.

"The incident is being reviewed and will be thoroughly investigated", a statement said.

Hamas has called for Palestinians to amass at the border as part of a weekslong campaign of protests against a decade-old Israeli and Egyptian blockade of the territory.

The Israeli military later confirmed that Yasser had not been flying a drone when he was killed. Israeli snipers shot and killed Murtaja while he was wearing a jacket clearly marked "PRESS".

The statement did not respond to Lieberman's other allegations regarding Hamas links.

The Israeli strike came a day after suspects crossed the northern Gaza border fence, leaving "explosive devices" that were found by the army.

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The video, first broadcast by Channel 10 television late on Monday, appears to show soldiers shooting the man near the border fence of the Gaza Strip and whooping in excitement.

"The video, which shows Israeli soldiers deliberately killing an unarmed Palestinian near the border fence, was filmed during Gaza's recent border rallies", Karim Jubran, a field research director for B'Tselem, an Israeli rights group, told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.

Israeli forces have always been criticized for their use of excessive force against Palestinians, and what rights groups have termed their policy of "extrajudicial execution" in instances where Palestinians who did not pose a direct threat to the lives of soldiers could have been detained or subdued in a non-lethal manner.

Israeli Arab MP Ayman Odeh said in a tweet that the video "horrifies the mind".

The Palestinian man who was shot by an Israeli sniper as other soldiers rejoiced was only injured in the leg and survived, the Israeli military's initial investigation into the incident has revealed.

Israel's military says it is investigating video footage, filmed through the scope of a rifle, which went viral online and featured prominently on Israeli TV.

Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the soldier who shot the Palestinian "deserves a medal", but added that whomever made the recording should be demoted.

It said the troops' behavior does not reflect the army's values and they will be dealt with "accordingly", without elaborating.

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